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Meet the Press

Describe your writing style to someone who’s never read you.
Surrealistic political rants posing as unreliable confessional narrative.

How would The New York Times categorize your writing?
Unfit for print, but, hey, all good on the Internet!

What was the catalyst that made you start writing?
Two years into college, I realized I was never gonna be a rock or movie star. Writing was pretty much all I had left.

4.) Your favorite—
Whisk(e)y: Elijah Craig.
Wild animal: Orca.
Waffle topping: Syrup.
Poem: “Sick” by Shel Silverstein.
Scientist or inventor: Victor Frankenstein… or, if it has to be someone real, then Al Gore. Wait, Al Gore is not real. God, then. God is my favorite inventor.
Broadway musical: Jesus Christ Superstar.
Badass getaway vehicle: Orca.
Movie to watch alone: Once upon a Time in America (no, not Orca).
Quote: “I’m way more humble than you are.”

Tell us about your favorite books or authors.
Oh, where do I begin? Mary Shelley’s The Modern Prometheus; Melville’s Moby Dick… Noticing a pattern here? Also a huge fan of spec writers, like Ursula Le Guin, Octavia Butler, William Gibson, Kim Stanley Robinson, and it follows that, after that, I am into politically fabulist authors, like Italo Calvino, Kenneth Patchen, and in the modern era, wild stuff from poets, like Sarah Fran Wisby, Anne Carson, and Joan Didion.

If you could witness or participate in any historical event or time period, what would it be?
Because it was in my lifetime and there was such a vibe of “you had to be there to feel it” that you could actually feel it on the other side of the world, I would have to say the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Weapon of choice:
Christopher Walken.

The perfect soundtrack to your writing:
Anything by The Swans.

4.) Which literary figure, dead or alive, would you want to—
Take tea with: Walter Benjamin.
Arm wrestle: Salinger.
Ice skate with: Flannery O’Connor.
Drink under the table: Emily Dickinson.
Get a blurb from: William Vollmann.
Beat in a duel of wits: James Frey.
Have on your side in the apocalypse: J. R. R. Tolkien.
Write your next book for you: Anne Carson.

The one thing in your writing routine you couldn’t live without:

Set the perfect scene for you to write your next masterpiece.
Some kinda sugar shack out on a lost Marin beach in the fog.

When writing makes you rich, you will …
Finally establish a theater company that specializes in tawdry, tasteless satire.

You can find Paul on Alternating Current with his short stories, “The Deathbed Confession of Christopher Walken” and “Fast Times on the Copenhagen Flats,” first published on Go Read Your Lunch.

PAUL CORMAN-ROBERTS is a core-founder of the annual Beast Crawl Literary Festival in Oakland, California, and a compulsive organizer and compulsive poet. His most recent collection is Notes from an Orgy from Paper Press (2014). He is an editor with Oakland Review and also works in theater and performance art, two disciplines he likes to bring to his spoken word presentations.

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